Furious 3rd Period Comeback Gives Rangers 6-4 Win Over Vegas

Anyone who left The Garden tonight after the 2nd period missed a helluva hockey game.

The Rangers stormed back from a 4-2 deficit after 40 minutes, scoring four goals in the 3rd period to beat the Vegas Golden Knights, 6-4. Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad, and Michael Grabner tallied the goals in the final period.

The Rangers actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the game, on Jimmy Vesey’s 2nd goal of the season, at 2:45. But Vegas got goals from former Ranger Oscar Lindberg and Reilly Smith, both on rebounds, to give Vegas a 2-1 lead after one period.

In the 2nd period,  Mats Zuccarello put one past Maxime Lagace at 1:29 to tie the game, 2-2. Lagace was making his 1st career NHL start, and finished the night with 32 saves. Smith scored his 2nd goal of the night at 7:29 to give the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead, and, later in the period, David Perron scored on a penalty shot, at 18:59, to make it 4-2. A smattering of boos were heard at the end of the period,  none of them Halloween-related.

But the Blueshirts woke up from their slumber and played with increased urgency in the 3rd period. Finally. After two separate tripping calls were called on Perron at 4:51 the Rangers had a four-minute power play. Kreider scored a power-play goal 40 seconds later, at 5:31, deflecting a perfect pass from Zibanejad past Lagace to cut the Vegas lead to 4-3.

Midway through the period, hustle by the Rangers kept the puck in the Vegas zone. Zibanejad grabbed a loose puck in front of the Vegas net, and passed to Buchnevich, who had a wide-open net and scored to tie the game, 4-4, at 9:26. Buchnevich has scored goals in three straight games.

Zibanejad’s wrist shot from the top of the left face-off circle beat Lagace for a power-play goal at 14:11 to give New York a 5-4 lead. Zibanejad had one goal and two assists in the 3rd period, and leads the Rangers with 8 goals on the season.

Grabner’s empty net goal, off a blocked shot by Jesper Fast, gave the Rangers the 6-4 final margin.

Zuccarello and Buchnevich each had a goal and an assist.

Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves for his 408th career win, moving him into 9th place in NHL history.

The Rangers [now 4-7-2, 10 pts] play the Lightning in Tampa Thursday night.

4th Line Rocks and Rangers Roll, Beating Arizona, 5-2

When the Rangers called up Boo Nieves Tuesday, coach Alain Vigneault said it would allow him to ‘roll’ four lines of forwards.

Oh, did that 4th line roll Thursday night against the Coyotes.

The line, consisting of Nieves, Pavel Buchnevich, and Michael Grabner, combined for four goals, as the Blueshirts beat Arizona, 5-2. Buchnevich and Grabner scored two goals apiece, and Nieves added three assists. Backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec notched his first win as a Ranger, making 27 saves.

Chris Kreider got New York on the board at the 8:01 mark of the 1st period, taking a no-look pass from Mats Zuccarello and beating Arizona goalie Adin Hill at 8:01. Then the 4th line started to roll. Buchnevich made it 2-0 at 15:57 of the 1st, with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle, off assists from Ryan McDonagh and Nieves.

In the 2nd, after former Ranger Anthony Duclair made it 2-1 at 5:13, Grabner answered 46 seconds later, off an assist by Nieves, to make it 3-1. And Buchnevich made it 4-1 at 13:56 with his 2nd goal of the game, again from Nieves.

Clayton Keller scored his 7th goal of the season with a power play goal at 3:52 of the 3rd the made it 4-2. But Grabner added an empty-netter with 36 seconds to play for the final 5-2 margin.

The game marked Rick Nash‘s 1,000th career NHL game. And also marked the return of Derek Stepan to The Garden; he received a long, rousing ovation following a video tribute in the 1st period.

The Rangers [now 3-6-2, 8 pts] have won 2 of their last 3 games, and play the Canadiens in Montreal Saturday night.

Rangers Fall to Sharks, 4-1

48 hours after playing their best game of this still-new season, the Rangers fell back to earth, unable to solve San Jose goalie Martin Jones, and losing to the Sharks, 4-1, Monday night at The Garden. The loss snapped a three-game streak where the Blueshirts had gotten four points.

Jones made 33 saves, and San Jose got goals from Logan Couture (just 1:56 into the game), Tim Heed (who scored his first career NHL goal), Jones Donskoi, and Melker Karlsson. Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers in the 3rd period, his 6th goal of the season .

The New York power play went 0-for-6 on the night. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 20 of 24 shots he faced.

The Rangers are now just 2-4-2 at home.

The Rangers [now 2-6-2, 6 pts] host the Arizona Coyotes Thursday night at The Garden.


Islanders Beat Rangers in Shootout

The troubles continued for the Rangers Thursday night at The Garden. They fell behind early, again, rallied to tie things up, but lost in a shootout to the Islanders, 4-3.

The Rangers fell to 1-5-2 on the season, including 1-3-2 at home.

The Islanders got shootout goals from Jordan Eberle and John Tavares, while the Rangers’ threesome of Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad, and David Desharnais could only muster one off Jaroslav Halak. Why Rick Nash and Michael Grabner were left out of the shootout lineup is a question for the ages.

Anders Lee got the Islanders on the board just 2:40 into the game with a power play goal that made it 1-0. Chris Kreider was in the box on a hooking minor.

Desharnais tied it, 1-1, at 5:02 of the 1st, but Brock Nelson answered just 64 seconds later, off an Adam Cracknell turnover, to make it 2-1 Islanders. It was Nelson’s 4th goal of the season.

In the 2nd period, Mathew Barzal scored his first career NHL goal, getting past Nash and beating Henrik Lundqvist at 1:15 of the period to make it 3-1.

Then in the 3rd, the Rangers picked it up a notch. Zuccarello scored at 3:29, off an assist from Brendan Smith, to make it 3-2. Smith appeared to tie the game at 6:23, when the puck deflected off his skate and in, but the goal was disallowed, as the referees said Smith made a ‘distinct kicking motion’ on the puck.

Kevin Hayes got the game-tying goal with 5:54 to play, off assists from Jesper Fast and Ryan McDonagh, to make it 3-3.

Neither team scored in the five-minute overtime, setting the stage for Eberle and Tavares in the shootout.

Lundqvist made 35 saves, including a couple of brilliant ones in the final moments of the game to force OT.

The Rangers continue their six-game homestead Saturday afternoon at The Garden when they host Nashville.




Penguins Thwart Rangers in OT, 5-4

Two old Rangers nemeses thwarted the Blueshirts again.

Sidney Crosby scored the game-tying goal with 0:56 to go in regulation, and Evgeny Malkin scored 58 seconds into OT, as the Penguins dealt the Rangers a soul-crushing 5-4 overtime loss Tuesday night at The Garden.

The Rangers have lost four straight, and fall to 1-5-1 on the season.

The late Pittsburgh heroics spoiled what had been the best, most complete performance by the Rangers so far this season. But, in the end, the team’s struggles, and, no doubt, their frustrations, continued.

The Blueshirts’ bad habit of giving up early 1st period goals continued Tuesday. They fell into a hole just 43 seconds into the game when Phil Kessel beat Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot off the crossbar, to make it 1-0 Penguins.

Former Ranger Carl Hagelin made it 2-0 later in the period, beating Lundqvist to the glove side at 13:30. It was Hagelin’s 1st goal of the season.

The Rangers came alive in the 2nd period, playing some of their best hockey of the season, scoring three goals in a 2:30 span to take a 3-2 lead. David Desharnais scored his first goal as a Blueshirt 4:02 into the period, with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle past Matt Murray to make it 2-1.

Then, with Crosby in the penalty box on a double-minor for high-sticking, Pavel Buchnevich scored a power-play goal at 7:02 to tie the score, 2-2; it was his first goal of the season. Somehow, Buchnevich only saw 9:47 of ice time tonight.

One minute later, J.T. Miller gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead with a blistering slapshot past Murray at 8:02. The New York power play was 2-for-6 on the night.

Late in the 2nd, Patric Hornqvist tied the game with a power play goal at 18:02, off a pass from Kessel, to make it 3-3 heading into the 3rd period.

Early in the 3rd, New York nearly scored during a frantic sequence in front of the Pittsburgh net at the 5:43; Rick Nash‘s backhand shot, while falling down, deflected off Murray and then off the post. Mika Zibanejad tried to stuff the rebound past Murray but was pushed down by Kris Letang and then held in a chokehold [not called] by Jake Guenzel, all while Murray was scrambling to locate the loose puck in the crease, which was underneath himAt the same time, Crosby had Brady Skjei in a chokehold at the other side of the net [also not called], trying to keep Skjei from the puck.

The Rangers would regain the lead midway through the 3rd, when Michael Grabner completed a give-and-go with Desharnais, putting the puck past Murray at the 8:00 mark, for his first goal of the season and a 4-3 New York lead. The Blueshirts then essentially had 12 minutes to kill to go home with a win, and they nearly did it.

With Murray pulled for an extra attacker, Hornqvist knocked a loose puck down with his hand in front of the Rangers net. Crosby intentionally waited for Kevin Shattenkirk to touch the puck [because if Crosby touched it it would be whistled dead as a handpass], before Crosby gained control of the puck and backhanded it toward the crease; it deflected off Lundqvist and into the Rangers net for the game-tying goal at 19:04.

Early in the overtime, McDonagh made a horrible pass from right behind the New York net. Kessel stole the pass and passed the puck to Malkin, who scored the game-winner at 0:58. McDonagh, who led all Rangers with 26:55 of ice time, had six giveaways in the game.

Malkin finished with a goal and 3 assists. Kessel had a goal and two assists. For the Blueshirts, Miller has a goal and two assists, and Desharnais had one goal and one assist.

Murray and Lundqvist each made 28 saves.

The Rangers are back in action Thursday at The Garden against the Islanders.







Losing Streak Hits 3 as Rangers Fall to Devils, 3-2

The Rangers came out aggressively Saturday night, outshooting and out-skating the Devils, but, at the end of the night, the Rangers’ recent struggles continued, as they lost to the Devils, 3-2, in Newark.

It was their third straight loss, and their record is now 1-5-0, the team’s worst start to a season since 1980-81. They’ve mustered only four goals during the three-game losing streak, and only 13 goals in their first 6 games.

The Rangers outshot the Devils in the opening period, 14-to-3, but could not get the puck past New Jersey net minder Keith Kincaid.

That aggressive play on offense finally paid off for the Blueshirts in the 2nd period. Rick Nash got the Rangers on the board at 5:41, scoring his first goal of the season, making it 1-0. But New Jersey quickly answered. Adam Henrique tied the game 1-1 at 10:21, and the Devils would take a 2-1 lead at 16:41 on a goal from Miles Wood.

Early in the 3rd, the Devil extended their lead when Drew Stafford scored a power play goal 1:00 in, to give the Devils a 3-1 lead.

Kevin Shattenkirk scored his 2nd goal of the season, with 58 seconds to play to cut it to 3-2, but the Rangers could not score the tying goal.

Ondrej Pavelec made his first start of the season in goal, and stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced.

On a positive note, Jesper Fast made his first appearance for the Rangers this season, after hip surgery following the 2016-16 season. He saw 15:41 of ice time.

The Rangers [now 1-5-0, 2 pts] host the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night at The Garden.

Struggles Continue As Rangers Fall to Columbus, 3-1

Artemi Panarin scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves, out-dueling Henrik Lundqvist, as Columbus came-from-behind to beat the struggling Rangers, 3-1.

Lundqvist made 40 saves for the Blueshirts, who have now lost four of their first five games this season. It was New York’s first game this season against a division opponent.

The Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Kevin Hayes goal 14:30 into the 1st period. Hayes, exiting the penalty box after serving a slashing penalty, intercepted a Seth Jones pass and beat Bobrovsky for his 1st goal of the season.

Late in the 2nd, Jones made amends, tying the score 1-1 with a goal with 46 seconds to play in the period. His shot deflected off a sliding Mika Zibanejad and past Lundqvist for the goal.

In the 3rd, Panarin, acquired from Chicago in the off-season, gave Columbus the lead, darting his way up ice, through the Rangers defense, faking his way past Kevin Shattenkirk, and beating Lundqvist with a wrist shot to Lundqvist’s glove side for the goal at 7:20 that made it 2-1.

Lukas Sedlak scored an empty net goal with :06 to play for the final 3-1 margin.

The New York power play went 0-for-4. The team has scored only 4 goals in their last 3 games, and only 11 goals all season.

It was the first game this season that Zibanejad did not score.

The Rangers [now 1-4-0, 2 pts] host the New Jersey Devils Saturday night at The Garden.

Hutton, Blues Top Rangers, 3-1

Carter Hutton made 32 saves, and the Blues took advantage of numerous mistakes in New York’s defensive zone to score two goals, as St. Louis beat the Rangers, 3-1, Tuesday night at The Garden. The Blues improved to 4-0-0 on the young season.

This one didn’t start well for the Rangers. Carl Gunnarsson scored for St. Louis just 15 seconds into the game, to make it 1-0. Jaden Schwartz picked off a sloppy Brady Skjei pass in the New York zone just moments after the opening face-off, and passed it to Gunnarsson, whose wrist shot beat Henrik Lundqvist.

The Blueshirts tied the game a few minutes later when Mika Zibanejad scored a power play goal at 2:22 to make it 1-1. Pavel Buchnevich picked up a rebound in front of the St. Louis net, and made a nifty pass to Zibanejad, who scored his 5th goal of the season.

Zibanejad has now scored in each of New York’s first four games of the season; the last Rangers to do that was Rick Nash in 2014-15.

St. Louis regained the lead midway through the 1st period. Steven Kampfer could not clear the puck out of the Rangers zone, and the loose puck made its way to Paul Stasny, whose shot was wide of the net, but Brayden Schenn took the rebound off the end boards and beat Lundqvist from an impossible angle at 13:30, deflecting it in off Lundqvist’s shoulder, to make it 2-1 St. Louis.

Neither team scored in the 2nd period, as the Blueshirts looked disorganized, and often listless. In the 3rd, the Rangers came out with more energy than they had shown all night, but they could not get one past Hutton, the Blues’ backup goalie, who made 16 saves in the period.

Aside from Zibanejad’s goal, the biggest cheers of the night may been when the Rangers successfully killed off 1:15 of a St. Louis 5-on-3 early in the 3rd period.

New York’s best chance to tie the game came when Michael Grabner had a breakaway at the tail end of a St. Louis power play, but Grabner’s quick close-in wrist shot was thwarted by Hutton at 6.38 of the 3rd, .

Schwartz scored an empty-net goal with 1:47 to play for the final 3-1 margin.

The Rangers [now 1-3-0, 2 pts] play their first division game of the season Friday night in Columbus, against the Blue Jackets.

Lundqvist, Rangers Blank Montreal, 2-0 For Season’s First Win

Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves, rebounding from an awful performance Saturday, and the Blueshirts got goals from Brady Skjei and Mika Zibanejad, as the Rangers shut out the Canadiens Sunday night, 2-0, to record their first win of the 2017-18 season.

It was Lundqvist’s 62nd career shutout and his 406th career NHL win.

He gave up five goals in just 20 minutes in Saturday’s 8-5 loss at Toronto, and was pulled after the 1st period. But, after a shaky start Sunday, he was on his game, making save after save and seemingly growing in confidence as the game went on.

The Canadiens actually scored a couple of goals in the 1st period, but each goal was reviewed and disallowed, and the game remained scoreless deep into the period. The Rangers would eventually take a 1-0 lead when Skjei’s pass to Michael Grabner deflected in off the skate of Shea Weber and past Carey Price for a goal at 17:25.

Neither team scored in the 2nd period. Midway through the 3rd, Pavel Buchnevich, who was behind the net passed to Zibanejad, who beat Price from a near-impossible angle at 9:13 to make it 2-0. Zibanejad has now scored a goal in each of the team’s first three games. This is the 4th straight year that a Rangers player has pulled off this feat [Chris Kreider in 2016-17, Oscar Lindberg in 2015-16, and Rick Nash in 2014-15].

The Rangers [now 1-2-0, 2 pts] host the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night at The Garden.

More Questions Than Answers After Maple Leafs Thump Rangers, 8-5

Random thoughts after the disappointing 8-5 loss to the Maple Leafs Saturday night in Toronto.

  • The team had not given up 8 goals in a game since October 8, 2014 vs San Jose, the third game of the 2014-15 season [they lost that game 9-2]. That year, the team got off to a 3-7-0 start and ended up going to the Stanley Cup Finals.
  • Unless, he was hurt, it’s amazing that Filip Chytil only played 4:59. If he’s not going to really play, he shouldn’t burn a year of his entry-level contract playing 5 or 10 minutes a game.
  • The Rangers’ power play went 2-for-3, and has now scored multiple goals in back-to-back games. They haven’t done that since December 29-31, 2016.
  • Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after just one period, allowing 5 goals on 17 shots. Let’s not all panic. Twenty bad minutes does not foretell doom.
  • Since Lundqvist only played 20 minutes, he may get the start Sunday against Montreal.
  • Wait, Alain Vigneault gave up on the Ryan McDonagh-Kevin Shattenkirk defensive paring after only four periods? C’mon. I think they’ll back together very soon.
  • Mats Zuccarello had four points on the night [1G, 3A], a career high for him. And Mika Zibanejad scored for the second straight game and now has 3 goals on the season. I still wish these two played on the same line.

The Rangers [now 0-2-0, 0 pts] are right back at it Sunday night at The Garden when they host the Montreal Canadiens.